Great leaders inspire. For 30 years, Ateneo Celadon has produced a string of great leaders, and this year’s batch is no different. Hence, we’ve decided to interview Celadon’s current executive board, so we can learn valuable insights from the very best of the organization!
Let’s meet the people behind Celadon’s Cultural Affairs (CUL): Vice-President (VP) Jannina Ong, and Associate Vice-Presidents (AVP) Jerwin Ting & Eugene Andojoyan!
What made you want to become a Celadon leader?
Jannina Ong (JO): “I’ve been an active member since the first sem of my freshman year, and since my first project as a core team member of Teachers’ Appreciation Week (TAW), I realized that I have found the organization I belong in. The people were nice and welcoming, and the org culture was something I could relate to. After working in a few more projects, I realized that I love the org, and I want to contribute more to its success. I wanted to be “closer” to it and help it fulfill its advocacy. I guess the main reason why I want to be a Celadon leader was to satisfy my urge to do my best to give back to this organization. I want to serve the organization that loved and accepted that clueless, inexperienced ME freshman girl a few years ago. And, I want to pass that experience on to other new members out there – the feeling that there is a place where different people, despite having come from different walks of life, can call home – so that they may continue to pass it on to the younger generation too. It was an extraordinary experience – the feeling of belonging, the feeling of having people you could trust, the feeling of completeness. And, for me, everyone deserves to be able to have the same experience.”
Jerwin Ting (JT): “I wanted to be a Celadon leader because of my love for the organization and the people in it. It is also what keeps me going through the hardships that it entails.”
Eugene Andojoyan (EA): “It was a semi-accident actually. A friend of mine sent me a message on Facebook to apply for manager, so I just gave it a shot. Then I got accepted as manager for Chinese New Year (CNY). I regret nothing! It was the most fulfilling experience I had leading. So I realized that running for AVP would be a good way to give more to the org that I love. It was more of a journey of becoming more passionate in leading and being with the org-mates than a moment decision.”
Summarize leadership in one sentence.
JO: “Leadership is helping others help you to achieve a common goal.”
JT: “Leadership is what drives you to be great and to help others.”
EA: “Leadership is being with the people on a journey of goal seeking and understanding.“
What was the biggest leap/risk that you’ve had to take as a leader?
JO: “Up until now, the biggest risk I have to take as a leader is the risk that stems from making decisions. I’ve had enough experiences during the previous years regarding this situation, but one thing I can say is that I learned to take responsibility for my decisions and to stand by them despite everything that will happen after I make them. After all, I think I’ve had enough experiences to be able to weigh down each factor to guide me in choosing the right path.”
JT: “The biggest risk I had to make was picking the managers under my department. We put so much trust on our managers and there are always risks and possible problems involved.”
EA: “Running for AVP. I’ve always stayed in my comfort zone, being safe inside a bubble. For me, when I decided to run, I was risking my academic life, my social life, and other lives out there. But the big risk had great rewards. I have no regrets at all.”
When was your most memorable Celadon event? Kwento please.
JO: “Out of the many Celadon events I’ve been to, my most memorable Celadon event was the event I headed last year – my project, Chinese New Year Festival. It was during the culminating night of the project when I experienced one of the most stressful nights I had ever. Everything was a mess – from the registration table to the audio-visual presentation to the performers’ list. A lot of people couldn’t come because of LT’s and make up classes, while some of the people who could came so early that they were able to witness us cramming. I won’t deny how problematic and stressful the event was for me and my partner Eugene, but the experience of running around from one end of the venue to another to troubleshoot problems or of having mini-heart attacks whenever there were emergency situations made me love the project in hindsight. All the experiences I had and knowledge that I gained from this project made me grow into who I am today, and I am truly grateful for having had such a stressful but fulfilling project.”
JT: “My most memorable Celadon event would have to be the Mid-Autumn Festival last 2014. I was a manager of the event and my co-managers and I had to give it our all for the project. The sense of fulfillment you get after your project is successful is unforgettable.”
EA: “My first Spring Film Festival! It was during my first year in Ateneo. I didn’t really know much people in Celadon since I was not super active. But a good friend of mine, Isaac, asked me if I would like to go. So, out of spontaneous reaction and a couple of friends, I went to volunteer for SFF! And there I really got to meet the people and talk to people I’ve never met before, fellow Celadoneans. I really had a good time there. It was the most memorable because it was my first! It was like they adopted a total stranger into the family and gave him a home. And it was what pushed me to become more active. Everyone welcomed me as family despite the fact that I was probably a total stranger at that time. And now that I look back, the people I met there are also the ones that influenced me the most. Some graduated while some are my fellow leaders now.”
Has there been anyone special to you during your Celadon journey?
JO: “There have been a lot of special people in my Celadon journey who inspired me to be who I am today. Learning is a process, and being able to learn a lot from this organization, I was like an oprn box that people can keep adding experiences and learnings into. The first set of people I cherish in my Celadon journey are the project heads of the first project I ever joined in Celadon, Teachers’ Appreciation Week 2013. Airish Xu and Meryl (not sure of surname) accepted my late application into the project and inspired me to become more active in the future. Next is my shifu Eg Dizon who I treat as my org father. He was the Vice President for Cultural Affairs before me, and I learned a lot from him especially when I was just a project manager under him. He was one of those who guided me through my Celadon journey as a leader, and he still is doing so until today as the president of the organization.
“Aside from them, my co-project head and now AVP, Eugene Andojoyan was also one of the people whom I learned a lot from. Working with him for our project Chinese New Year Festival, I was able to see a lot of things from a different perspective, and I was able to learn a lot. Lastly, the people who pushed me to be more active during my second year are my batchmates who were also very proactive during that school year. I remember being convinced by Kimberly Ang to apply as core team with her in most of the Celadon projects last year; I remember competing with Himig Marcos to see who among us got more projects; I remember regretting not being a core team member of LDP along with Aldwyn Tan, Irish Tolentino, and Yssa Yu, and many more. I am basically a sum of a lot of influences, and I wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for the entire Celadon community I fell in love with since the very beginning of my journey. And, I am still continuing to love it until now.”
JT: “If there has been anyone special in my Celadon journey, it would have to be my blockmates EG Dizon, Erika Angeles, and Timothy Ching. We’ve gone through so much in Celadon. They served as my go-to-friends and org buddies ever since our second year when I started to be active in Celadon.”
EA: “I would say it is my co-manager/VP Jannina. We started out as strangers during our first Plansem for Chinese New Year. I would say she’s like my opposite, a yin to my yang (something like that)? And it’s because of that, I learned a lot from her, not only from the technicalities of project work, but also the work ethics involved, the need to adjust. But the really nice thing is that the mutual learning and helping was also present even outside work. We became good friends. And now she is my VP. Even if our ideas and ideals don’t always match (which happens at times), it made me realize the value of adapting, reasoning and the need for diversity. My Celadon journey would not be complete without her.”
Where do you see Celadon in 5 years?
JO: “I see Celadon in 5 years as an organization comprised of members from different walks of life. I envision the future Celadon to be closer to its goal of sharing the Chinese-Filipino culture to the Philippine society. I see it flourishing into something that is composed of a lot of different people with the same interest – celebrating the culture. I picture it to not be stereotyped as a ‘pang mga Chinese lang yan’ organization but as a ‘sali tayo masaya mag-dice game at kumain ng tikoy‘ organization. And, I am looking forward to this Celadon.”
JT: “I see Celadon as a meeting place for people to have fun and create unbreakable friendships.”
EA: “Celadon will be one of the most prestigious orgs out there! And along with the prestige is the closeness of family. Celadon will continue being a family for all its members. At the same time, it will be on its way to excellence!”
Interview conducted by Joel Lim
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